The last four years, and the last year in particular, have reduced my circle of trust considerably. I get the feeling this is not an uncommon thing.
Trump's ascendancy was bad enough. Conservatives I've long disagreed with but respected showed me that deep down they were indifferent (at best) to fascism as long as it delivered what they wanted. It's made me question my trust in them, and even my trust in my own ability to see people for who they are. I at least thought (naively) back in 2016 that Trump's behavior once he took power might alienate them, but they gleefully doubled down. All of the lawbreaking, racism, family separations, and hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths from COVID only strengthened their ardor. The naked attempt to overthrow democracy on January 6th and the weeks leading up to the insurrection was met with silence (at best) or obfuscations and what-aboutism.
Despite all of that, COVID has eroded my trust in others far more. Every day I have commuted by train I have had to ride with people nose-hanging, chin-strapping, or outright refusing to wear masks. Every scroll through social media shows all the trips and visits and parties made with complete disinterest for the well-being of others. So many conversations reveal a lack of concern with the virus or even denial of its potency. Multiple people have told me of friends dying after contracting COVID, then sharply telling me "but that's NOT what killed them!" Others refuse to get vaccinated.
More personally, I have to hear teachers being attacked and dragged by frustrated parents who don't even consider the effect these statements have on me. (This goes for social media and more direct convos.)
All of this makes me feel like a sucker for trusting other people, and I was a distrustful person to begin with. I honestly don't know how I am going to be able to go through my day to day life in these circumstances. So much of quotidian existence relies on the trust that must be invested in others. I wonder sometimes if my standards are too high, if I am an insufferable killjoy, or more hypocritical than I realize. I don't think I am, but maybe you can correct me. Or maybe as a cishetero white guy I am having to confront something other people have been forced to reckon with far before this.
So far I have been leaning hard on the people I know can be trusted. They've been a rock for me in this. It just pains me to know that when this is all finally over I will be incapable of going through life the same way again. I am trying my best to forgive, but it seems impossible to forget.